‘Necks take first game

Dan Morton

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Wearing mops on their heads, their faces painted yellow and purple and plungers in their hands, the Veteran’s Club Peach Blossoms cheered on the Leathernecks last night in their 23-7 victory over St. Cloud State, showing that all the action was not just on the field.Cheering on WIU sports since 1966, they came to the game ready to show their spirit.

“We go to every game. We also plan to do all the soccer games, girl’s rugby and guy’s rugby teams, basketball teams, etc., etc.,” Seth Washburn, vice president of the Peach Blossoms, said. “We’ll support any WIU games they have.”

“We started in 1966; it’s an old tradition, and we’re here to bring back the grade-school spirit. That is the main goal, the only goal,” Todd Seffrood, president of the Peach Blossoms, said.

When asked about how they feel about the Leathernecks this season, Seffrood said, “I think we’re going to rock ‘n’ roll, man. I think we’re going to dominate this semester; they all have to stay healthy and they need the support of WIU students and otherwise. They need the community behind them. They’re going all the way this year and they have full support of the Veteran’s Club.”

“And the Peach Blossoms,” Washburn added.

“I think everybody’s pumped. I mean, you just have to look around at the crowd. There’s tons of people here,” Carrie Maserang, sophomore elementary education major and Leatherneck cheerleader, said. “If we can keep up the fan support like this throughout the season, I think we’re going to do awesome.”

Some fans said they were disappointed when running back Aaron Stecker sat on the sidelines with a knee injury and wondered how well the team could do if he can’t return soon.

“The season looks promising as long as Stecker comes back. He’s out for this game, but he’s the go-to guy. As soon as he comes back I think we’ll have a hell of a season,” Dave Krajenta, senior communication major, said. “I’m looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to a lot more tailgating. That’s the main thing right there. We got here about 4:00 today and we were tailgating. There were so many people out there. I’d estimate we had about 150 people out there.”

“They should have tailgating at halftime, not just before the game,” Eric Zierk, senior physical education major, said. “They made us pour out our beer.”

“We came here all year last year and all year this year. We’re going to support them at all,” Joe Pudelwitts, senior law enforcement and justice administration major, said.

At halftime, the Leathernecks had a 20-0 lead over the Huskies.

“We had a slow start, but they seemed to bring it together toward the end of the first quarter. The offense started clicking and the defense seemed to really loosen up at the end of the first quarter. I think we’re going to have a great team this year,” Mark Larson, ’82 WIU alumnus, said.

“It’s a good crowd. They are ready for Stecker, but other than that – 20 points in the first half – you can’t complain about the offense at all.”

“You know, I think it’s really cool that everybody finally decided to come out even after they were winning. I wish we always had this kind of support, but whenever we can get it, that’s good enough,” Dan Sprehe, junior broadcasting major, said.

“I’m having a good time out here. I missed it from last season and I’ve kind of been having withdrawal over the summer. I missed the camaraderie, I missed everybody out here just having a good time, partying it up and cheering it up for the Leathernecks because they’re the team this year,” Sprehe added. “It’s a great school and we deserve a great team like this and they deserve fans like us.

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